Thursday, September 26, 2013

Motherhood Musings About My Multiples

Effectively disciplining a toddler can be hard work. Short attention spans, lack of knowledge, short memories...all necessitate repetition, routine, consistency and patience. So does disciplining multiple children of the same age. It's nice to BE PRESENT to SEE who did what, but sometimes I have to rely on instinct, the track record of the child, and my superhuman senses, specifically hearing.

As a discerning mother, with sensitive ears and olfactory abilities, I can recognize certain sounds: breaking glass, the turning of a door knob, the unauthorized whoosh of running water, the shredding of board books, the yowl of the family cat, and the occasional shriek of outrage. I can also smell a poopy diaper at 40 paces.

Keeping my cool, despite nagging, incessant and demanding pressure can be difficult. As moms, we are, by nature, surviving on less-than-ideal amounts of restless sleep, copious amounts of coffee, and oftentimes sheer will to keep our offspring alive. Some days are better than others, but let's be honest, do we ever REALLY have it ALL together? One part or another is usually on fire, and we are hopping to put it out.

When my strong-willed, independent toddler stopped napping, my heart skipped a beat. I finally learned not to force it and give it up after countless stake-outs, re-entries, spankings and there was that time or two when I found she had covered her sleeping sister's face completely with several layers of blankets and pillows. The grace of God, ladies and gentlemen. When she figured out how to open the refrigerator, move chairs to access things out of her reach, unscrew lids and throw the dead bolt on the outside doors I quickly toddler-proofed or eliminated access to things I used to enjoy opening easily, like the toilet lid...and knives.

The key is keeping a couple of steps ahead of them. Ah, the intrepid mind of a toddler! When you graduate from having a walker, to a runner to a climber...the game gets more interesting with each developmental leap. You quickly run out of counter space, every door and drawer has a safety guard and rooms lose whole pieces of furniture. And then, just when you think you have the upper hand, they learn how to defeat your baby-proofing devices, those flimsy pieces of pathetic plastic. They either rip them clean off, or they learn to wear them down until they either lose their adhesive powers or bend loose, and they're smart! So smart!

They learn to lie or tell you what you want to hear, and they are good at it. Sometimes you can play one twin against the other. Other times, they are a united front. They already know how to divide and conquer between their parents, until Jeff and I learned to unite our own super forces. They are TWO! This is one momma who is trusting Jesus to help her raise her babies to know him. I pray for patience and Providence for their daddy and I. We love our two miracles to pieces!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blogger I JUST Discovered....

I just found a new blog I'm lovin by Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds. It's a link on books that are good for this age group, geared towards younger preschoolers...just like her blog! Woot! One particular post is about Our Favorite Books by Subject. So, if you're looking to hit the library for some age appropriate reads, check out her post before heading out with your kiddos in tow! She's got groups for Starting School, Autumn, Colors, Farm Books, Hibernation, Gingerbread, Winter, and the Beach and Ocean and links to wear you can buy them, if you are so inclined. I am glad to have stumbled onto her blog as I've struggled to find things for younger preschoolers. Well, let's be honest...I haven't looked hard yet. But at least I've tried, and this is a good find.

Little Wonders

I've been recently fascinated with THIS SONG since watching Disney's movie "Meet the Robinsons", the theme of which is "family."  I really liked this movie. There is some time travel, a classic plot and good slapstick humor and it's pro-adoption. There are moments that make you laugh out loud and others that have you reaching for the Kleenex.

The song I'm loving is called "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas. I am not familiar with anything else he sings or does, but I do like this one. He sings about "fate". I'd like to believe it's God orchestrating our lives, so I think about THAT when I hear it.

As a newer mom, I tend to stress about crap that's not going to matter and some that WILL, but I need to remember that life is happening NOW. I can't think about the future or I will MISS THE NOW. I don't want to miss it. I want to soak it in and let it radiate out of my skin like a thousand suns of happiness. I want to ooze awe over these beautiful blessings that God has given to me. Complain less, ooze more happiness. Make more memories. Get messy. Let the kids get dirty more often.

Soak this in my sisters...ooze awe over those babies you've been blessed with. Don't get bogged down in the day to day crap and don't forget to lean on each other and ask for help or advice. We need each other, and the time is now.

"Little Wonders"

Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over.
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you.
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels.

Our lives are made
In these small hours.
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain.

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you.
And I don't mind
If it's me you need to turn to
We'll get by,
It's the heart that really matters in the end.

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate.
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain.

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But I can not forget
The way I feel right now

In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
Oh they still remain
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

By Jove! They Did it AGAIN!

My children operate fast. I. mean. fast. There is no checking Facebook "real quick". There is no "sending a quick email". There is only the time when they are awake, and my eyes are upon them, and then there is down time AFTER the children are in bed. THIS is my new policy. Henceforth, in order to avoid mass chaos, the destruction of property, and loss of life, I will hereby watch my two-year-old tornados at all times in the strongest efforts to avoid the following.

Poop grenades
Public urination
Destructive urination
Artistic tomfoolery
Cat fights
Cat strangulation
Devastated toy rooms
Accidental stabbings

If my two-year-old can drag a chair or a piece of furniture to a place she wants to reach, she will do it. Her twin has a thing for one of our cats. She likes to pick it up by the neck. Both, like to take their clothes and diapers off and then do their business as a form of protest or perhaps out of boredom. Nobody goes into their room for a nap unless they are exhausted and have had their daily poop (also a new policy). The knives are getting a new home's called a place I like to call ANYWHERE-BUT-HERE. Have you heard of it? Would you like to go there sometimes? Me too.

Today, there was a new round of shenanigans. My girls like to keep life interesting for me, and I don't doubt they are acting according to their age. But today, as in most days, they act impulsively (I try to act surprised when they do this, and blame Jeff, but I can't fight heredity and neither can they). One was drawing on the coffee table with Crayola Twistables, but because of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, the table was put right again. The other, was squatting and peeing on the stroller. But in her defense, her diaper was leaking. I changed both girls.

Aside: My girl can put away a sippy and then fill her diaper like nobody's business. Well, actually, her business became my business, when she did it on the stroller. I went to take the stroller apart to get the seat covers off and that sucker would not come all the way off, so as I'm trying to put it back together after changing both their diapers I get one telling me the other's just pooped while the first one is trying to hand me the poop. I have no spacial reasoning so I've just taken this beast of a peed-upon double stroller apart and it's hot, and I'm sweating and trying to put it back before my husband gets home. Long story short, I manage the free-range poop and get the girls up to try and get them to nap...I figure, it's late in the day, they've both had a poop, they should be tired...there might be a chance to get a half hour or more to myself to get this stroller back together. Nope. I gave them a few minutes to settle, it didn't happen, I go up there, and both children are in a state of undress and my foot finds that at least one of them have peed on the area rug.

I love this age. They are honest to a fault. I try not to punish honesty. I like them honest. Me: "Shannon, did you pee on the rug?" Shannon: "Yeah. Right dare (indicating where she had urinated)." Me: OK, you know you're not supposed to pee on the rug. It goes in your diaper or in the toilet." Whateve mom! lol

I let them spend some quality time in the bathtub. Indoor pool time when it's hot out. By that time...everyone needed to cool off. Including mom. Love those girls! Daddy brought home dinner after I sent him an S.O.S. He even managed dessert and flowers too. Thank you Lord, for good daddies.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bring Back Mayberry

"The world needs a little more Mayberry, and a lot less Jersey Shore."

I saw this quip on Facebook and I couldn't agree more. I'm not naïve. The sexual revolution and women's lib did happen. It's all true, but now that I'm into my middle to late 30's I'm missing a simpler time. Who am I kidding? I've been missing my childhood since it ended.

Being a stay-at-home momma (thank you Jeff) has afforded this mother with an opportunity to relive some of those moments with my children, and to even recreate them for a new age. While we don't have the above-ground pool I once enjoyed growing up, we do have a kiddie pool and a sprinkler, not to mention the slip and slide. We still enjoy popsicles and sticky fingers, doing our best to avoid sunburn and insect bites. The girls have even discovered the delight of the clothesline, playing in and among the sheets and towels in their own, secret world.

Much is lost in our world today. It's simplicity is gone and it's replacement is a sense of over-connectedness and a feeling of needing to unplug to unwind. We've always had responsibilities, they've just infringed on more of our personal time since the invention of personal computers and cell phones.  With all the new fangled gadgets, I feel a need for less race, more relaxation.

Time now passes more quickly, threatening to cascade down the mountain and I can't stop it's avalanche. While I was younger, I remember when I couldn't wait to be in the next grade. Now I see my toddlers growing out of 2T clothing and into 3T before my bleary eyes and I want to put bricks on their heads and urge them to stop growing, because...I want them to stay little. Not for always, just for now.

As their hair and limbs lengthen, and their faces become more lean, they begin to look like little girls and less like toddlers. Their sentences are growing longer, their thoughts more intentional and their deeds more purposeful. When did they become so polite, and yet so eager to fight each other over the slightest misdeed? I fought with my sister when we were little, no mistake about that. I see some of the same squabbles between my girls that I did between myself and their Aunt Cari. (Ah...we had it good, didn't we Cari?)

Saturday morning cartoons, hikes to the creek past the town sewage treatment plant, Nintendo, bike rides, forts in the woods, trips to Seabreeze Amusement Park and summers at the Lake? Back to school shopping trips for clothes and school supplies were the best. When that alarm went off on those September mornings, we practically sprung out of bed to put on our new favorite outfit for the first day of school. We. Were. Awesome...because we had each other.

I miss Mayberry. I miss living at home with my parents...the simplicity of being taken care of by other people who paid the bills, protected us from the boogeymen, and chased away the bad dreams. I miss having someone take care of me when I'm sick, to cook my dinner and to give me money when the ice cream truck comes to the neighborhood. (Dang-it Mom and Dad, when can you move in?)  I miss a time when my hardest decision was whether or not to peg my jeans.

I must be careful not to spend these years wishing I was living in the past, lest I miss the blessings of the present. So I relish this time with my daughters, trying to let go, and be more spontaneous and to remember how much fun it is to get dirty and to sink my toes in the mud, because time flies on swiftest wings, and little girls become tweenagers in the blink of an eye. My daughters, now is your time to shine for your Mayberry is now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Watching Flowers Grow

Today was a great day. My girls and I got to spend time with my friends' kiddos at their house. We played outside and in! The twins got to go for their first wagon ride, hold their own bubble wands, and even throw rocks into a stream. They climbed walls, slid down slides, sat in toddler-sized wicker chairs and ate Ritz crackers. They pet a puppy, ate pizza standing at a table their size and played with sidewalk chalk. Blanket and pillow forts, scooting down carpeted stairs, running in circles, and exploring through muddy woods in pink rubber boots... It was a fun-filled day! My girls went without a nap today and fell asleep on the car ride home. Then they asked to go to bed during dinner.

I love watching my flowers grow!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Susie Homemaker

No internet for the next few days means no blogging, no Facebooking, no picture sharing, and no email, (I don’t have a smart phone). It is a gift from God to me. Our cats won’t know what to do with all the extra attention, and my eyes will be opened to so much more I could be doing around our house and with my kids w/o the internet as my main source of entertainment and distraction. I’ll spend more time cleaning, baking and meal planning. I’ll get creative with my kids, perhaps drive more places. Maybe I’ll even lose an extra pound. Who knows? I may even pick up the phone and CALL SOMEONE.

It’s a Friday night. There isn’t much on TV and due to lack of internet, I decided it was time to try out my homemade cleaner; a concoction of distilled white vinegar and Clementine peels.  To make this citrus-infused cleaning goodness, I poured the vinegar over several Clementine peels I had put in a mason jar, I then screwed on the lid left the jar in my pantry for about 3 weeks. Every once in awhile, as it was stewing, I would turn it upside down to gently mix it a bit. I put it into a spray bottle tonight and went crazy cleaning windows and surfaces in my house. I ran amok when Jeff left the house for a couple of  hours after the kids were in bed so the vinegar smell wouldn’t bother him. I also sprayed my Lysol and my Febreeze while I was at it. The fewer people around the better, for this level of blitzing goodness...

It’s crazy, but after a long time, I feel like I’m finally home. After almost 8 years living in this house, I’m framing family pictures and getting them up on the walls. I’ve found some second hand living room furniture I like and I’ve culled and given away some of the girls’ smaller toys (AKA clutter).  It’s starting to look lower-middle-class-nice around here. Picking up the toy room takes me 10 minutes instead of a half-hour, and I’m not stepping and tripping all over the place anymore. Hallelujah!

It was nine o’clock and the dishes were done, the trash was out, the toy room was picked up, the cat litter boxes were scooped and another load of laundry was in. Who AM I tonight? Susie Homemaker! I’m going to bed and actually get some sleep. Who knows who might wake up in place of the T-Rex?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Poop Grenade

It happened a couple of months ago.

15 minutes. That's how much longer I wanted to luxuriate in bed before I haul myself up to address the banging and shrieks of glee coming from my girls' shared room during naptime. Steeling myself for whatever I would find when I got in there, because I know there will be a mess, I whisper a prayer, "Please Jesus! Help me to be calm and in control when I see what's in that room."

I slowly walk down the hall and I know they hear my footsteps because I hear Rory say, "Uh oh!" Something MUST be wrong.

I stand in the open doorway, mouth ajar, gazing on both of my daughters who are stripped to their birthday suits like naked natives (wait, Rory still has a shirt on). Their bed covers are scattered in piles around the room, their diapers are off and in a corner and there are suspicious piles of liquid pooling on the hardwood floor. But what drew my fearful ire was the site of not one, but TWO toddler turds on the floor in different locations. I shrieked and stepped into the room like it was mined. "Shannon!" I said in a deliberately tense whisper, "Hand...Mommy...the diapers!"  She picked up both turds, in her chubby little hands and dropped them in the diapers. I grimaced and then sighed with relief as if she had put the pins back in both grenades and surrendered.

I had to triage the situation. Clean the kids up in the shower with an initial dee-pooping rinse followed by a double scrub and rinse, followed by a moisturizer, check. Redress children and put them in their highchairs watching kid-friendly YouTube videos, check. Head back to the scene of the crime. Strip everything that can be washed (deciding what was needed for bedtime) and took it downstairs to be laundered. Then I attacked the mess with my paper towels, Little Green Cleaning Machine, and my Windex and cleaned up their room. Lastly, I remade the beds and came down to cook dinner.

I feel like I earned another mommy merit badge that day. I pinned it right next to my Stomach Bug Survivor Badge.

Two Down, One with Croup

Mothers everywhere, scientifically prove everyday that people do not need sleep to long as we have a steady supply of caffeine. I try and stay away from Ritalin.

Perhaps, we shouldn't operate heavy machinery, you know, cars and the like, but we can keep our offspring alive, and do our jobs, on a daily basis, with little or no shut-eye. I haven't done any crazy, sleep-deprived things to date, but I've come close and I know some of you have...feel free to share. Cereal in the fridge and milk in the cupboard? Ever pour OJ on your cereal? They're always funny!

I am revisiting my days as a new mom...those with little to no sleep.  My girls got bad colds this month and poor Shannie has croup. Oh the awfulness of not being able to make my baby well! The middle of the night (throughout the night) coughing fits, tears, and the red cheeks...poor, sick kiddo. It's scary, choking on phlegm and not being able to breathe. Shannie O'Shannahan is on Prednisolone (spelling) to reduce the inflammation in her chest so she stops barking when she coughs. I alternate between sitting in the bathroom on the toilet with her on my lap wrapped in a blanket while the steamy shower loosens the phlegm in her chest and then taking her outside, bundled up in a blanket so she can breathe the cold air. Both are treatments for the crazy coughing fits.

And even though this has been going on for over a week, I foolishly stay up too late, often for the sake of being alone and not in charge of anyone but myself. Unfortunately, the next day, I don't have enough energy to be nice to my sick kids. I become a T-Rex momma over the tiniest transgressions. If only I would follow that good advice and go to bed early. But I LOVE my alone time.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why Mommy Groups Can Be Like Texas Holdem

This morning while I was brushing my teeth...well, honestly, I don't remember if this thought occurrerd to me WHILE I was brushing my might have been some other time this morning, but today, the thought occurred to me, that sometimes, when we moms (Is it "us moms" or "we moms"?) share stories, not only do we like to entertain eachother, sometimes we like to "one-up" eachother.

Disclaimer: This is not necessarily a description of any mommy group that I, myself, belong you can relax ladies. It's an imaginary group.

It's almost like a game of poker, specifically Texas Holdem'. "Blinds" are forced actions by the two people left of the dealer (the person keeping the conversation or game going by dealing the cards). The small blind is half the big blind. The big blind is the minimum bet. By putting in blinds, this makes sure money is always placed in the pot. Once the blinds are met, people start checking, betting, folding, calling or raising and eventually someone takes the pot.

Normally, a "check" means you're still in the hand but you're choosing not to bet. A "fold" means you are facing a bet, but you choose not to participate or call, so you throw away your cards. A "call" is a bet that matches an opponent's bet. A "bet" means you want to put some money into the pot. A "raise" means you are facing a bet, but want to put even more money into the pot. I imagine a mommy group conversation something like this:

Dealer: Kids can be crazy, right?

The small blind: This morning my kids drew all over the bathroom walls with my lipstick.

The big blind: That's nothing. My kids took permanent marker to my floor tile, the couch and the livingroom walls, the night I was supposed to host a dinner party with my husband's boss and his wife. (an action twice as bad as the first)

My kids have done that too. (check)

So have mine. They're crazy! (check)

Dealer: It's not always pets that make the messes, right Karen?

That's right! I don't have any kids, but my dog once ate a roast I had just cooked when I had my in-laws over for dinner. Took the whole thing off the counter and ate it while I was busy answering the door. He later threw it up in my slippers. (bet)

Oooo! I don't have any pets. That sounds awful! (fold)

My Great Dane, shook and killed the neighbor's prize-winning cat!!! (raise)

How is that even possible? Does your neighbor even OWN a cat? Don't they have bad allergies? (call)

Dealer: Awkward.

I know this isn't a complete game, but it gives you a window into how my mind works. I don't play the game regularly, and all information for this article came from THIS Youtube tutorial. It's a good one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday Monday

I've decided that today, Wednesday, is our Monday. First, a disclaimer: This is not a roll of complaints, it is a monologue, designed to make you smile, cringe and laugh...with sympathy.
It's the first day that Daddy is back to work after the New Year made it's debut and we're back into our "normal routine" together, just us girls. Shannon and Rory both have colds. I think this is number 37 in a row, (not really, but I just wanted to speak to my tired frame of mind). Our baseboard heating, coated in dust and cat hair, and low humidity, plus my OWN cold has made it a rough night's sleep. My hair is mussed, my flannel pajamas askew, my lips are dry and scaly and caked with a mix of saliva and mucus and there is a delightful film on my teeth. I wake up at quarter to 7 with shrieks of "Mommy! Mommy!" Not good.

I stumble down the hall, groggy and partially asleep and walk into a gloomy room, the smell of urine hits my draining nostrils.  There are TWO urine-soaked toddlers and two beds to change, ahhhh twins. The top of Rory's diaper has split open and the pee-soaked plastic jelly inside has opened into her footy pajamas, down into her right leg. Both girls have peed clear through their jammies. The bathtub it is!

In my haste to strip the toddlers and run the bath, I go to hastily blow my nose into a tissue. I miss the tissue and fill the palm of my left hand with green mucus. Grossness factor of about 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. Fast forward to after breakfast. Following a bath and getting dressed, we go downstairs for a breakfast of yogurt and Nutella bread. An announcement is made. "Poo-poo!" Not unusual. I take my time to clean them both up after eating. No additional complaints of poop, no offensive smells, so we skip to playing. I think, "Maybe it was just gas."

I'm running the timer on the microwave as they learn to share a second-hand stroller and I pick Rory up to check her pants and change her. Her pants are soaked in liquid poo, and now, so is my left arm. Eau de poo...No visible traces just a nice stench.

All this to say, it was followed by two more doodies, albeit in small successive volumes. Shannon announced she had to go too, but on the potty, and succeeded in a wet fart, as she sat on the toilet with the phone, talking to her grandparents, who were cheering her on.

There is more to tell. I could go on telling you about my role as referee and housemaid. But I will leave you with this parting thought: the cat is kneeding my belly fat as I type (he only comes out when the kids are down for naps or in bed). I'm going to go drink some water because I'm getting a caffeine-induced headache. A cup of coffee, a cup of black tea, and a Diet Mountain Dew drunk in one morning will do that to you.